Gun testing backed up at Houston crime lab

January 27, 2010 8:01:42 AM PST
The latest backlog at the Houston Police Department crime lab involves more than 300 cases of firearms waiting to be tested. Lab director Irma Rios says the department has added staff, plus upgraded facilities and procedures. She says the lab, which has drawn scrutiny for thousands of rape kit and fingerprint analysis backlogs, is poised to begin using robotics in about 15 months.

Police officials say evidence in cases with suspects or involving violence has been given top priority.

The Houston City Council this month approved $4.2 million in contracts with four companies to reduce a backlog of 4,000 rape kits, some dating to the 1980s.

The council in December approved a nearly $3 million contract to reform the police department's fingerprint comparison unit.